Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 553–568

TGF-β signalling and its role in cancer progression and metastasis


DOI: 10.1007/s10555-012-9375-7

Cite this article as:
Drabsch, Y. & ten Dijke, P. Cancer Metastasis Rev (2012) 31: 553. doi:10.1007/s10555-012-9375-7


The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) system signals via protein kinase receptors and SMAD mediators to regulate a large number of biological processes. Alterations of the TGF-β signalling pathway are implicated in human cancer. Prior to tumour initiation and early during progression, TGF-β acts as a tumour suppressor; however, at later stages, it is often a tumour promoter. Knowledge about the mechanisms involved in TGF-β signal transduction has allowed a better understanding of cancer progression, invasion, metastasis and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, several molecular targets with great potential in therapeutic interventions have been identified. This review discusses the TGF-β signalling pathway, its involvement in cancer and current therapeutic approaches.


TGF-β signallingSMADCancerEpithelial to mesenchymal transition

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Centre for Biomedical GeneticsLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Uppsala University and Ludwig Institute for Cancer ResearchUppsalaSweden